Leila Saidi-Grant wins Irene Tilenius Bloom Prize for Summer 2021
Leila Saidi-Grant is a rising senior majoring in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures with a minor in Art History. They are interested how research, art, and writing can counter epistemological violence against immigrant communities; particularly through engagement with Persian poetry and language with Iranians and Persian-speakers in diaspora. They are also the co-president of the Columbia Iranian Student Association, and a Peer Educator at the Barnard Well Woman Center. You can get in touch with them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This summer Leila will conduct an oral interview and digitization project, researching how Persian language and poetry is passed on across generations and borders. They will look at how immigration and assimilation affect Persian language maintenance and consider how non-colonial understandings of gender and the world might be recovered through engagement with Persian poetry and non-heteronormative figures like the saqi. In addition to oral history research, they also hope to map family history, digitize and translate any archival documents and art, and consider how family heirlooms are understood. Their final thesis will draw on oral interviews, archival documents, classical Persian poetry, and art to start to answer these questions!